AN Independent county councillor has slammed the appointment of Donegal Deputy Joe McHugh as the new Junior Minister for the Gaeltacht.
It was announced yesterday that the Fine Gael TD would be replacing fellow Donegal Deputy, Dinny McGinley.
Deputy McHugh, has admitted that his own Irish was not great but would be taking a ‘refresher course’ in Glencolmcille and also brushing up on the language in the coming weeks and months.
It’s emerged that neither the senior Minister Heather Humphreys nor junior Minister Joe McHugh have fluent Irish.
Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, from Annagry, said Joe McHugh was not the right person for the job:
“This is another slap in the face for the people of the Gaeltacht,” he said.
“The last government report in 2007 gave us a few years for the language that is almost 3,000 years old. The appointment of Deputy McHugh and also senior minister Heather Humphreys is a slap in the mouth. How can they look after the interests of the Gaeltacht when they can’t even speak the language?,” Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig sa
Taoiseach Enda Kenny says his new Minister for the Gaeltacht will take a “refresher course” in Irish. The new Culture Minister in the Department Aodhán O’Riordán is an Irish speaker.
The Taoiseach says Minister McHugh will be getting his head in the Irish books:
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív said the fact that the new Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs is not a fluent speaker of the language, was a slap in the face for the thousands of Irish speakers in the country – and particularly for Gaeltacht communities.
The former minister for Gaeltacht Affairs said there’s no question that Minister Joe McHugh is a person of talent, decency and integrity. But he insisted without fluency in Irish, he could not adequately carry out his duties in Gaeltacht Affairs.
Deputy O’Cuiv called on the Taoiseach to rectify the problem immediately.
A protest against the appointment of Minister of State McHugh is due to take place in Gaoth Dobhair on Friday at 12 noon. A protest has also been planned by Conradh na Gaelige at the Dáil later today.